Water Baptism? You May Be Wet and Dead!
The Word and the Word Alone.
I am not writing this article just as a rebuttal against what a true believer should consider a false doctrine but to illuminate as many people as possible to the dangerous “side-effect” of this belief. To encourage others to be Bereans; testing every espoused doctrine against the whole of God’s Word and to equip the Saints for the work God has ordained for us (Ephesians 2:10).
Bad Doctrine, Bad Exegesis and a Dangerous Trap.
A Simple Chart to Deceive the Babe and Give the Lost False Hope.
An alarm bell should be going off in the mind of a born-again believer by the caption alone: "Salvation is Conditional". How is it that the Lord’s love (Gr. Agape – unconditional love) towards those whose names have been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life since the foundation of world, has now become conditional? The KJV translates this word as charity; a perfect picture of the meaning of the Greek word. Charity is given without any requirement from those to whom it is given, or it is no longer charity but a gift with strings attached. The question then becomes: why make salvation conditional?
- Man’s pride demands that he be in control of his own destiny and that he is sovereign in the affairs that determine his eternal state. God's sovereignty only extends to the creation and the atonement, the rest lies in the hands of man. In effect God can save no one unless they cooperate in one form or another; contrary to Romans 3:10-18.
- It is also a power over others by the leadership, when they can institute Pharisee-like practices that induce their followers to toe the line. It will inevitably lead to many other requirements to keep one in good standing. Baptism is usually the tip of the iceberg so to speak; a cult favorite.
- To the lost it is an easy ticket to heaven. Obey the leadership, get dunked and heaven is now secure because it only takes belief (… the demons also believe) and baptism. People can put on a show of religiosity (appeasing the leaders and their peers) for years and with great sadness will hear in the end… I never knew you.
My experience has taught me that the issue of the sovereignty of God is very troubling to many who claim to know Jesus as Savior. As per Daniel 4:35; God will do whatever He wants, whenever He wants and to whom He chooses; nothing can stop Him and no one can question His actions. Isaiah 55 adds; His word will accomplish everything He desires; He does not need your or my help.
Now Let Us Weigh the Scriptural Evidence.
The Chart: Designed for Easy Believism.
- Jesus did not die for all men. Hebrews 2:9 … but tasted death for all men. The Word tasted (to illuminate, shine upon, appear to) death for four reasons: 1) to fulfill the requirement of the Law; 2) to rise victorious over death; 3) to bring many sons to glory (verse 10); and 4) to leave all men without excuse, for the Word is a sharp two-edged sword. Notice all of the personal pronouns in verses 11 to 14; He died for us, not them.
- God’s grace has never offered salvation to all. Titus 2:11 … it has appeared to all men. Verses 12-14 … teaching US… gave Himself for US … redeem US … unto Himself a peculiar people. Pronouns, pronouns, pronouns.
Note: Most of the people of the world have a knowledge of Jesus; that He died, supposedly rose from the grave, but not to the salvation of their souls. It is very true that only a few will be saved; Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Of those called but not chosen, all are without excuse because He has “tasted” death and His grace has “appeared” to all. Beware of Matthew 7:15-20.
- Faith alone is not enough? Saving faith was never your faith to begin with, it was a gift from the Father via the Holy Spirit and not of yourself “… lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9), as do those who demand water baptism. It is from God alone and if you make it of no effect without baptism, you mock the gift of God. This is very dangerous ground upon which to stand.
- Confession alone is not enough is a true enough statement for it is the result of the gift of faith as a testimony to the work of God in your life. The thief on the cross received this same gift of faith and his confession upon the cross testified to this eternal fact. Faith has always been a gift from God, for we are faithless towards God by nature.
- Repentance likewise is only as a result of the gift of faith; it is the testimony of a changed life. Strangely the chart does not include Acts 19:6, the receiving of the Holy Spirit unto salvation by people who had been baptized without faith, for they had no knowledge of the Holy Spirit.
Luke 18:10-14 The parable of the Pharisee and the publican. In verse 13, the lowly despised publican asked God to be merciful to him, a sinner; verse 14, Jesus states that this man went to his house justified, the outcome of salvation. The gift of faith in action as it has been since Abel unto today: Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.
Which Baptism Saves?
What Say We Now About Baptism?
The last prophet of the O.T., John the Baptist, prophesied in Matthew 3:11; “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire,”. Jesus stated that John’s prophecy would soon be fulfilled in Acts 1:5, “For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” On the day of Pentecost, the Church was born…again, not by water but by the Holy Spirit alone.
What about these verses?
Matthew 28:16-20 – Do you realize this passage was given to only the remaining eleven apostles and that, prior to the day of Pentecost. It was not until the Holy Spirit came upon the 120 in the upper room, that the apostles truly understood the teaching of Jesus upon the mountain and His instructions in Acts 1:5-9. I have heard people try to explain the logistics of 3,000 baptisms: by water, very improbable; by the Holy Spirit, instantaneous. Did you notice they received Peter’s words with gladness, each soul receiving a gift of faith unto salvation?
Buried with Christ – Romans 6:3-4? what about verses 5 to 11? We are to be planted in the likeness of His death and made alive as in His resurrection. Matthew 20:22-23 explains the baptism of Jesus – “But Jesus answered and said, Ye know no what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup I shall drink of, and to be BAPTIZED with baptism that I am baptized with? They (the disciples) say unto Him, we are able. And He saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.” All of this is in the future tense. The baptism Jesus was facing was impossible for them to comprehend at this time, but in the future, they would perfectly understand. It was the death of the old man (fallen nature) and the new creation they would become. Water had NOTHING to do with the cup and baptism facing our Lord, that which we are to copy.
Born of water and the Spirit – John 3:5? Poor exegesis. Verse 4 explains the Greek meaning of the word which entails the process of physical birth of a baby. Nicodemus asked the question, “… can a man crawl back into his mother’s womb…?” Jesus goes to explain, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.”
Clothed with Christ – Galatians 3:27? Interesting that verses 24 to 26 states that we are ALL the children of God by faith and have put on Christ. It is the changed life that has put on Christ; water changes no one, the Holy Spirit has taken our heart of stone and has given us a heart of flesh that we may testify to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us hear the conclusion of the matter:
If water baptism is more than a personal testimony of a changed life; if changing scripture, ignoring contextual evidence and adding to the work of faith, a gift from God, makes your salvation valid, there in nothing more to be said.
Let the dead bury the dead.